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Full text of "Alaskan glacier studies of the National Geographic Society in the Yakutat Bay, Prince William Sound and lower Copper River regions"

GLACIATION OF THE YAEUTAT BAY REGION                215
necessary to turn the boat this way and that, and four of us were busy all the time breaking ice, pushing bergs from under the bow and away from the propeller while the other three respectively steered the boat, started, stopped and backed the engine, and attended to the smaller boat we were towing. Sometimes we were stopped absolutely for several minutes at a time and now and then the tide drifted the largest icebergs, which we attempted to avoid, down close to us. When one of these bergs, rising fully 100 feet above water, and therefore six to seven hundred feet from base to crest, turned over and went to pieces a hundred yards from us we were not a little dismayed, for if the same t.hjng had happened when we were a little nearer it would have been entirely impossible to go away or even to turn the boat bow-on to the gigantic wave which spread from the crum^ bling iceberg. The filling of the boat by a wave, or the falling of one of the ice fragments into the launch, would have resulted in instant disaster. These personal adventures are narrated here to show the dense character of the ice jam on June 12th, 18th, 14th and 15th. Venturesome as some of the party were, it was agreed by all that the mass of icebergs was not to be penetrated by our boat, and after struggling to the lee of a reef and anchoring at noon in the hope of better conditions after the tide had turned, we were temporarily forced to give up the struggle with the ice.
On June 16th, however, there was less ice in Russell Fiord than on the four previous days, and we made our way slowly through the ice pack to Marble Point, above which the fiord had many clear lanes.
During the next two days when we were busy in Nunatak Fiord, Seal Bay, and the head of Russell Fiord nothing was seen of the conditions near Osier Island, and on our return June 19th the ice jam had cleared to such an extent that we were able to find enough clear lanes so that an easier trip was made back to the vicinity of the native sealing camp, in the course of which a landing was effected on the border of Hubbard and Variegated Glaciers and a few soundings were made between Osier and Haenke Islands and the Hubbard Glacier. The waves from falling ice pinnacles on Hubbard Glacier were damped by the blanket of icebergs covering the fiord so that there was little danger from them while we were in the thicker ice.
On June 20th, and again the next day, we attempted to force the launch through the ice of southern Disenchantment Bay to the west shore, where we were most anxious to visit Lucia Glacier. Similar conditions to those near Osier Island were encountered, and although we went south into outer Yakutat Bay some distance toward the Kwik River we were unable to cross the bay. The huge bulk of giant icebergs looming through a dense fog added to the difficulty here and it was impossible to see any distance ahead. We steered by compass, though with innumerable detours, and were eventually turned back because of the entire absence of open lanes through the ice. On June 22nd it was also impossible to cross Yakutat Bay to the west side because of the ice jam and on this and the preceding days we forced our boat through much thicker ice than we had penetrated in the previous years' work in Yakutat Bay, making a few soundings along the east shore of Disenchantment Bay. Going down to Knight Island, very heavy ice was encountered in the broad outer part of Yakutat Bay, the pack filling the bay to the east shore some distance south of Logan Beach. Except for scattered fragments we have never before seen floating ice on this east shore. Residents at Yakutat Bay told us that many icebergs came ashore earlier in June as far south as Khantaak Island.
Summarized, therefore, the ice jam of June, 1910, in Yakutat Bay, Disenchantment